Wednesday, November 27, 2013

link and rum?

Curious. Is there some special way I should be starting these? Like, if I had to guess, I imagine most of my posts start with "So..." or, some sort of fumbled "Oh, I should post something!" But let's be honest...

Who cares? Heh.

Annnnyhow. I was driving the shuttle for my hotel this morning (the typical shuttle gentleman has taken a new job, thus giving the hotel a way to not cut hours as we head into our slow months) and I had a fairly interesting trip. Normally, conversation goes something like this; Patron: "Hey! Tell me about this thing I see! Or, maybe I'll ask you if you've always lived in pittsburgh!" Me: "Hey! I may or may not have any idea about what random landmark you've pointed out's history is. And, yes! Sorta. Mostly."

But this one went haywire after that. A mother and daughter, the latter college aged, hop on to go to Oakland. They ask me if I've lived here all my life, blah blah, oh the mother is from DC but daughter was born here... But, while we're heading up Bates, Mother tells me that her girl was born right here at prestigious Magee's hospital. The daughter points out that many abortions happen there.


I feel the hairs on my neck lifting. Standing on edge. The shuttle is quiet, and everyone (probably just me) is holding their breath. They don't know me. They don't know how many strong opinions I have. Should I be quiet and let it pass? Should I say something, at risk, to see what side of the abortion debate they stand on? Do I really want to invite something like that into this drive? And, worse, do I want to risk my tip?!

If you know me, you know I have absolutely no way to keep myself from speaking.

"... Well, a lot of babies are Born there, too. It's a hospital that caters specifically to women and all..." It's hard to write in tone, but trust me, it was a prodding one. Sort of jab-y, should you be against abortion. Making light, and all.

What luck! The girl was pointing that out just because she's seen the protesters. /wipeforehead Good enough. What begins next is a fairly amusing discussion on the first amendment rights given to us by the US Constitution. It wasn't in depth, but it Was thrilling... How often to you get to talk about things like that, understanding that some peoples views may be distasteful (to ourselves), but that they're entitled to yell it from whatever soapboxes they can climb on. It wasn't exactly a discussion at some high, well versed level, but I loved it more because it wasn't. It was normal people, a mother and daughter that I assume very rarely let the thought trouble their minds, just getting into a civil discussion with a stranger. On something important. I loved it. We then touched upon Neo-Nazi's and more heavily on the KKK.

Not that this is the first of it's kind I've experienced. Not on hate-speech and such, but I did get to enjoy an interesting discussion on taxation from a gentleman I was bringing back from a job-required workshop at CMU. Just, randomly, came upon the topic, and the merits of and the cons against. I let the gentleman know that he could go and fix that system, and that I'd handle an issue I found to be just as pressing to the economy (student loan debt).

Somehow, I doubt we'll fix anything, but it was refreshing. I almost feel like it's weird to enjoy those two happenstances so much, but looking back... They're highlights. It gives me faith in the world, in a small way.

Just a fun thought bouncing around in my head, kids.

Good Night!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

svu marathon fun.

So, this may be something that was worth writing pretty long ago. Well, not really Long ago. Maybe a couple months.

My father died, a couple of months back. Life was really hectic. Honestly, without looking at some e-mails about filming, or talking to my mom or brother, I wouldn't be able to tell you the exact day. I was sleeping when it happened, because I'd been doing the night shifts with him in the hospital, and I slept when I just couldn't be there any longer.

Calling him father seems like such bullshit. He was my dad. Not my father. I never called him that. Too impersonal, too cold and correct. He was never an impersonal or cold person. A lot of who I am comes from that. A lot of my anger, too, I think, but that's ok. I loved him, and he loved me, and he knew that. I do to, but that doesn't make things much easier.

I've not put enough thought into all this (the writing and post part, at least), but in the amount I have, I know I haven't really dealt with it perfectly. It's hard to. I spend most of my life trying to be practical, or pragmatic. How can you talk to people about your dad dying? If they're not some professional, how fair is it? "Hey! Mind if I intrude on your emotions and good day with my shitty ones?" It feels... Less than friendly, doesn't it? I know, I Really know it won't make it much easier on me, but it Will be rough on them. There's a whole bevy of expectations there. One has to exhibit all the correct emotions socially, if they don't care, and if they do, I don't want to put someone through that. So, the slight comfort I might feel comes at the expense of my friends comfort, and I don't like that. I don't agree with that math, so I just put it away. I think I experience it, but I know I'm just setting it aside for Future Mike. Past Mike is a bit of a thoughtless jerk.

But, hey! A couple glasses in, and it makes it a bit easier to think about it all without that same practiced tact.

I miss him. He had faults, and plenty of them, but so do I. And I knew I wouldn't have him long... He had me so late in life, it was only a matter of time. But I really had hoped he'd get to meet any children I had. It makes me so damn conflicted, wanting to be mad and sad at the same time. He could have lived longer, but I honestly don't know how much he wanted to.

By the by, it was cancer that got him. But, I know it was from a whole laundry list of things that really did it. Cancer was just a result. He was an unhappy man. A lot of things happened in his life that I think, unaccomplished and amateur psychologist that I am, led to him just never feeling truly comfortable wherever he was. Though, I think me and my brother brought him close to comfort. He stayed, and I honestly think he had only the best intentions, if not the strongest willpower.

I apologize if all this is just rambling and branching into thousands of directions. I didn't really start this with any real concept of what I wanted to say beyond that I miss my dad, and I wish I were a little worse at handling it. Pragmatism might be the worst of the 'good' traits I like to think I exhibit. Synonyms? "Sensible. Practical. Commonsensical." I like to point out another. "Hardheaded." Fits me like a well tailored suit.

My dad was a good man. He made me angry, and I him. It was out of love. I loved him with every bit of myself, and I know he felt the same way about me, even if we were both so bad at showing it. What we did, we did with good intentions at the heart of them. I wish I'd had more time with him, to see him using his goofy, ridiculous humor to amuse the kids I hope someday to have. I wish I could have talked to him before he went, to have back the time the delirium he was in (drug and cancer induced) stole from me. I would have liked to have had time to put together the right words, to explain how much he'd taught me (to do, and what not to do) and how grateful I was and am that he was my father. The world will always be a bit darker, grimmer without him walking it. I don't think you can ever claim to be an honest adult with your parents alive... There will always be a warm, delightful, protective bubble. The world can't truly be as scary a place with your dad around to protect you. It's different now. Everything is real.

Well. Sorry. I really don't mean to impose on anyone's day. It's just nice to write, cry, and put some of these emotions of mine out. Better out, than in, right? Anyhow. Back to your normally scheduled lives.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

that was me.

First four days are done. I've just gotten home, and I keep feeling like I've got plenty rattling around in my head to make a half-decent post on here.

So, let's begin with the major thing. College classes. Last three (hopefully) that I'll ever have to take, and then I'll have that elusive, illustrious scrap of paper that will tell everyone "Hey! This guy! He's cool! Totally worth your time!" Except, of course, it doesn't really. Just tells you that I've forked over the money to pay for the new over-hyped highschool. But, whatever. Three classes, two sociology, one psych, all looking to be fairly easy. Sociological Theory may be a pest, with it's tiny papers and fairly... I don't know. How do I describe the professor? She's a sweet lady. Very nice. I'd give her a 5, though, on a scale of terrible to great. Nothing phenomenal. Soc 362, Racial and Ethnic Minorities is right up my alley I suppose, though I'm loath to admit it. I try to be all socially aware. The class though, I get the feeling it'll just devolve into really low-level thinking on the subject, which will most likely leave me grumpy and argumentative.

But here I am, thinking of them as average and myself any better than them. Ugh. It's whatever. I just wish the class had a few different, more interested individuals in it. As it is, most are filling a requirement (As am I.).

Then you have Psych, my lab on Cognition and Learning. It's another instance where I'm feeling a little farther along on the curve. I can't wait for us to get on with things, to move past the silly simple introduction to the ideas we'll be covering. Watching some of the other students converse about what is a Positive or Negative punishment or reinforcement, or what is the conditioned/unconditioned stimuli/response just amuses me, but makes me feel somehow like time is wasting.

I guess I just have to admit I'm excited to be doing this again. I haven't felt this interested in academics since freshman year. I -Used- to be a deans list level student. I hated looking over my transcript and seeing that phrase earlier on in my college career, and then where I managed to go after that. But who cares. I feel up to the challenge, refreshed and ready to see what I can take from some subjects I actually find interesting.

It's also crazy how I Still know people on campus. I've been gone so long, and I still find myself getting pulled aside, hailed, still hear my name floating about. It's enough to give a guy a bigger ego. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's great to know that one has left a strong enough impression for someone to either hate you enough to never let it go, or to remember and recognize you through through the changes years put us through. It's nice to have friends out there, and it's, in a way, to know I still have enemies. Only boring people have no enemies, ya know.

The drive, as well, one hour either way... It's a pleasure. It's just long enough to enjoy the solitude, to let myself relax into my music or my thoughts without becoming tedious.

I feel pretty good about this, guys. Don't try to break my stride. It's got me looking at other aspects of my life, things that I've needed to do and haven't gotten to, things that have needed to be dealt with. I keep whining about wanting a cleaner slate, but here I am holding onto things that should have been discarded a Long time ago. Let's see... can I be more obtuse? Can I be more cryptic? Deal with it.

Next thing on the plate... Considering what to do when these loans come in. Being adult is a role I'm never going to totally feel comfortable with.

Fragile Art.